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The Fifth Act, Chapter 14

Title: The Fifth Act

T for violence.

Summary: FFVII Time-travel. Gen. Cloud has an accident with a Time Materia.

Author's Note: In which Cloud meets Angeal, and Sephiroth picks fights.

Previous Chapter


The Fifth Act

Chapter 14


Stalking the Training Room didn’t have the good fortune of putting Cloud within striking distance of Hojo, but then, he didn’t expect results on the first day. Watching his fellow Third Class SOLDIERs train – how strange to be able to honestly think that of himself after so long – gave him time to plan everything out in his head. It wasn’t an elegant or foolproof plan by any means, but he didn’t have Vincent’s sleight of hand to back him up. Or any backup at all for that matter.

After going through all of his options, he decided his best bet was threatening the information out of Hojo. Not that Hojo would tell him, but the scientist liked to brag. Under pressure, he might give him a clue. But more importantly, if Cloud killed Hojo, and then made his intentions to destroy Jenova clear, ShinRa would get nervous, and wonder what their head scientist might have spilled before he died. They’d move her. Maybe even to the Nibelheim reactor. But Cloud would be watching, and then he would strike. No one short of Sephiroth would be security enough, and they wouldn’t want to risk exposing their precious General to the truth of his origins – that had been entirely Hojo’s machination. ShinRa had no interest in doing anything to upset the star of their SOLDIER program.

Jenova would burn, and then ShinRa would send Sephiroth to kill him. And Cloud’s work would be done.

He was still turning this plan over in his head the next morning as he headed towards the Briefing Room. It might take a while for Hojo to turn up, but it helped him avoid Sephiroth in the meantime.

It didn’t, however, help him avoid Zack, who had eventually found him and dragged him out to go celebrate his new job like it was a personal victory.

The frosted glass door to the Briefing Room opened with a barely audible whoosh. Another example of ShinRa being fancy when an ordinary door would have worked just as well.

Lazard sat inside, at the far end of the glass table. A SOLDIER First leaned against the wall. Cloud’s gaze immediately darted to the familiar Buster Sword on his back. His memories scrambled to catch up.

"You must be Strife. Angeal Hewley. I prefer to go by Angeal."

Cloud nodded in greeting. There weren’t any visible signs of degradation – no wing, no unhealthy pallor, no white hair. A good sign – he still had time.

"Good morning, Strife, I hope you’re ready for your first day as a SOLDIER Third Class. Angeal will be accompanying you on missions while you settle in. He's there to provide backup if you get caught in a tight spot, but please treat him as though he's merely an observer," Lazard explained. "It's standard procedure with all new SOLDIERs. Later you may be called on to do solo missions, perform backup for a squad of MPs, or to accompany Turks or fellow SOLDIERs on their duties. Of course, as per your contract, you have the right to turn any of these missions down."

Cloud remained impassive. He knew all of this already.

"You found your uniform, I see," Lazard observed. He sounded approving. "It fits well?"

He shrugged, and adjusted the coarse blue jumpsuit self-consciously. Cloud had changed into the uniform mostly because his clothes were in dire need of proper laundering, as he'd worn nothing else for the past couple of months and they hadn't been washed since he stopped in at the Gold Saucer. He kept his shoulder guard, though - the standard ShinRa ones were designed for the stockier, more traditional SOLDIER body type - those with thick, bulging upper arm muscles, exactly like the First Class standing before him.

"Good. And in case you were concerned about regulations, you don't need to worry yourself over bracers or other equipment," the Director continued. "There are a variety of fighting styles within SOLDIER, and a certain amount of customisation is to be expected. Some people feel better with the extra head protection of a helmet, and others complain it limits their field of vision. And of course, we encourage SOLDIERs to improve upon their equipment independently, as we can only accommodate so many specialities."

"Are you sure that's not corporate-talk for 'There's no budget for your fancy armour, get it yourself?'" Angeal asked in good humour.

Lazard smiled, but neither confirmed nor denied the statement. Cloud found himself wondering what might have happened if Lazard inherited the company instead of Rufus. He reminded him of Reeve - a little cooler, more polished, but possessing the same quiet manner of navigating the shark infested waters of management, trying to do some good while staying out of the bloodbath.

Not missing a beat, the Director smoothly continued, “So, Strife, how were your accommodations? Any complaints?”

“No sir,” he responded quietly. “It’s much better than anything I’m used to.”

“Yes, I suppose it would be,” he murmured, then turned to business, nodding at the dispatch orders on the desk. “We have a routine local mission to start you off, if you don’t have any objections. A construction site in the second quadrant of Sector 4 has been overtaken by a small flock of ahrimans. Construction cannot continue until the threat has been removed.”

“Another one? Out in the sticks I understand, but you’ve been sending people out to all of the Sectors almost daily,” Angeal commented.

“Yes, these monster infestations are becoming a problem.” For a moment, the smooth and neutral expression fell away, revealing lines of worry and stress. “That’s why your assistance will be very much appreciated.”

Cloud picked up the dispatch and scanned it quickly. Simple enough. It would probably take longer to get there than to complete the mission itself. Realising that Lazard was waiting for a response, he said, “I’ll do it.”

"Excellent. If you don't have any further questions, I won't hold you up any longer. I'll see you gentlemen again later."

They left the Briefing Room and headed for the elevator. Cloud hit the button for the lowest floor.

“He likes you,” Angeal remarked.

Shifting uncomfortably, Cloud replied, “I haven’t done anything to deserve it.”

The SOLDIER First laughed. “I think once he heard you were living on the streets despite your skill, any protests he had vanished. The Director values hard working people. He’s climbed to his position from the very bottom rung of the company.”

That explained why his demeanour skewed so differently from the rest of ShinRa’s upper management. Although… “He looks so much like Rufus, I assumed…”

“We don’t talk about that in the office,” Angeal corrected him lightly.

An illegitimate son, then. That would be a powerful influence on the Director’s perceptions. How would it feel to fight all the way to the seat of Director, while watching his younger half-brother be practically gifted with the vice-presidency?

“So, why did you decide to come work for ShinRa? Genesis didn’t think you would.”

A fair question, but Cloud was already getting tired of it. “I wasn’t keen, but Tseng didn’t give me many choices.”

“How so?”

Cloud stared at the floor to avoid making eye contact. “I could either negotiate a contract, or spend my time in Midgar dodging bullets.”

“I doubt it would have come to that.” Though his voice lacked conviction.

“He’s a Turk,” was the blond’s response, as though it explained everything. It sort of did.

Angeal raised an eyebrow. “And that was enough to put you off trying to kill Sephiroth?”

Cloud stared harder at the floor. Did everybody know about that? He’d been banking on the hope that ShinRa would want to keep any near-successful attempts on their invincible general’s life silent.

At his lack of response, Angeal turned serious. “Why are you so driven? Most people would consider an attempt on Sephiroth’s life to be suicide.”

“I’m not most people,” he replied shortly.

“So I hear. Then what is it you’re fighting for?”

Cloud didn’t feel comfortable answering that, not when talking to a dead man walking. “Is it important?”

“It’s the most important thing about being a SOLDIER.” Angeal sounded earnest.

Cloud shrugged, somehow sure that his absence of an answer would disappoint Zack’s mentor. He knew the ‘right’ answers, the mantra Angeal had drilled into Zack’s head, but they weren’t his reasons. He’d never made SOLDIER. “Why do you fight?”

“For honour,” was the prompt response. “And for my pride as a SOLDIER.”

How much did that honour and pride matter when you learnt you were dying because a mega corporation had used you as an experiment?

“I see you also carry a Buster-style sword. For me, this sword is handed down through my family, a symbol of our honour, our hopes and our pride and our dreams. One day, well…” He chuckled, and turned his attention back to Cloud. “I’d still like to know your reasons for carrying that blade. I’ve been curious about the man who could make those two stubborn idiots change so much.”

“I’m nothing special,” Cloud murmured. “Just a nobody with a chip on his shoulder.”

The ding as the elevator doors opened finally put an end to the awkward conversation, and they turned their focus onto making their way through Sector 4. Walking around freely in the daylight above-plate was a novel experience, as Avalanche had operated exclusively out of the slums, and during his days as an MP, Cloud hadn’t made it out much. The streets were wide, clean, and modern, with glossy signs advertising places of business and tidy penthouses hidden on every block.

Walking among the civilians above-plate carried a different atmosphere too. It took him a while to figure out the cause. People still stared – their uniforms and weapons gave them away - but their expressions weren’t fearful, or cautious, or full of hate and mistrust. Instead, they were greeted with expressions of awe, envy, and in Angeal’s case, almost worship. He seemed to be a hit with the older women especially.

Enhanced hearing allowed him to pick up the nearest conversations without much difficulty, and they made his ears burn. Fortunately, most of the talk centred on Angeal, but there were more than a few speculative murmurings about a ‘new Third Class, how did they hide a blue-eyed blondie like that for so long?’ To think he used to idolise Sephiroth like that!

Fortunately, the crowds thinned as they headed into the area of Sector 4 still under development. Midgar was still growing, would continue growing for years yet, until Meteor put an abrupt stop to that.

Meteor wouldn’t happen, he reminded himself. He wouldn’t let it.

A sizeable area around the construction site had been roped off to prevent civilian encounters. Cloud and Angeal jumped over the flimsy barricade – it served as a warning, more than any sort of security – and headed for the site.

The ahrimans were visible well before they reached their destination – rotund, scaly beasts, hanging from the scaffolding like oversized bats. The building itself hadn’t progressed past the initial frame, providing only a skeletal structure and half a roof that made it ideal shelter for the flying monsters.

Cloud surveyed the scene critically, and then popped out his Bolt and All materia from First Tsurugi, swapping them around until they were linked. In this instance, the ahrimans had chosen their nest poorly.

He held aloft his sword, concentrating on the most powerful bolt spell he could muster. The monsters began to stir, sensing the activity of magic in the air. A few unfurled their wings to take flight.

Too slow. With a deafening crack, thick, wildly arcing bolts of lighting ruptured from the materia, zapping through the air towards their targets. The air filled with animalistic shrieks as each bolt split, bent and sizzled its way through the scaffolding.

None of them could escape. The first one thudded to the ground like a rock. The others followed in quick succession, falling like seedpods released from a tree. The smell of sizzling flesh curled in his nostrils, and after thirty seconds or so, the construction site fell silent.

Done. He turned back to his observer.

Angeal stared at him like he was a monster. Cloud checked. Still no wings. Frowning, he asked, “Is there a problem?”

Shaking himself, the First replied, “No problem. Good work. Let’s head back.”

What was that about? Cloud cast another glance back at the pile of bodies as they headed away from the construction site. “They’re not returning to the Lifestream yet.”

“You know about the Lifestream?” Angeal asked. “…Well, don’t worry about it. It takes a bit longer in Midgar than most other places. You did it clean, with no collateral damage – if they’re still there in the morning, the construction crew can handle it.”

Mildly disturbed by yet another example of how ShinRa’s mako extraction affected the cycle, Cloud followed along in silence.

Back at ShinRa, Lazard had been stunned by their fast return; initially assuming they hadn’t left yet. He shuffled through his desk and found another mission for them – in Sector 6 this time – and Cloud completed that just as quickly, dispatching a nest of mandragoras in a short order. He didn’t mind this kind of work, and made a mental note to just ask the Director for a string of these missions next time so they didn’t have to keep returning to headquarters for each assignment. It wasn’t particularly challenging, but then, they probably were giving him the easy missions, considering he was technically supposed to be a rookie Third.

When they returned again, Angeal stopped him from requesting a third mission. “It’s your first day. Take it easy,” he advised.

Cloud frowned. “I’m not tired.”

The First chuckled. “I can see that, but I’ve got things to do too. Why don’t you take the chance to settle in, do some training, get to know your fellow SOLDIERs?”

Put like that, Cloud figured he ought to drop by the Training Room to check for Hojo. And he would need to slip below plate sometime to talk to Aeris in private, to see if she could think of a way to cure Angeal. “When do I report in next?”

“Did the company give you a PHS yet?”

He shook his head, and pulled his out of his pocket. “I already have one.”

“May I borrow it for a second?” Cloud tossed him the phone, and Angeal turned it over in his hands for a moment.

“I heard you were living in the slums. How did someone in your position afford a model like this?” Suspicion coloured his tones.

“I used to run a delivery service. I needed a good PHS,” he answered simply.

“Delivery service, huh?” Angeal flipped the phone open alongside his own, fumbling with the buttons. Side-by-side, his model did look surprisingly small and slick. He hadn’t thought PHS technology had jumped that drastically over the time span. “Why did you stop?”

“My bike got trashed by a Midgar zolom.” Or at least, it probably would have been, if he hadn’t been catapulted into the past.

Angeal raised an eyebrow. “Ouch. And you’re still alive?”

Cloud shrugged, avoiding eye contact. To say anything more would be getting too deep into the lie.

“Lucky for us, I guess.” He fiddled with the phone a bit longer, then tossed it back. Cloud caught it in one hand. “I sent your number to Lazard – check your PHS for mail before you go to sleep tonight, he’ll either give you a time to check-in at the Briefing Room or a mission directly.”

He nodded to show he understood, slipping the PHS back into the safety of his pocket. For a moment, he regarded the SOLDIER in front of him. No obvious signs of degradation at all.

Genesis had raged against his fate. Angeal had gone as quietly as possible. Both were failed experiments, thrown away by ShinRa. Just like him.

“I’m tired of fighting, but I can’t seem to stop,” Cloud murmured.

It took the SOLDIER First Class a moment before recollection dawned on his face. “My question earlier?”

Cloud didn’t answer – hadn’t intended to speak aloud in the first place. “Sorry. See you later.” He slipped from the room, the door hissing shut behind him.

Angeal continued staring at it long after he left, a thoughtful frown on his face.


By his third day of working for ShinRa – a thought that still made his head spin – Zack had figured out that he could normally find Cloud in the Training Room observation area. And because Zack knew, Kunsel knew, and before Cloud knew, he found himself giving the pair of Seconds materia training.

Never mind they both technically outranked him.

“That’s an incredible barrier,” Kunsel observed, even as he lobbed another ice spell at the dummy. Only a few shards and a bit of icy air actually hit the target, protected as it was by a shimmering wall of magic. The dummy would have been destroyed in only a couple of spells otherwise. “It’s taken, what, twenty spells now? And it doesn’t look like it’s weakened at all.”

Cloud made a non-committal noise in response.

Lightning struck the barrier, sputtering into harmless sparks. Zack only had a Cure on him, so he’d borrowed some of Cloud’s materia. “This is amazing! Mastered materia really is something else.” He frowned. “Can’t cast as fast as you yet, though.”

“It takes practice and familiarity. That’s why it’s better to use a materia you mastered yourself,” Cloud explained. It felt strange, teaching others things he’d come to take for granted.

Kunsel grinned. “Lucky for us, we can take some shortcuts thanks to your experience. I think I’ve cut down my casting time by a third already. Hey Zack, maybe I’ll beat you to First!”

Zack laughed. “You’re going to have to work hard to keep up! Cloud’s going to be giving me sparring practice later!”

Cloud didn’t recall agreeing to any such thing.

“No fair, Zack! That’s double dipping! You’ve already got Commander Hewley for a mentor.” Kunsel threw another ice spell at the dummy. A light dusting of frost peppered the front this time. The barrier would need renewing soon.

“You’re just too slow, Kunsel!” Zack retorted. His next bolt spell shattered the barrier. Cloud motioned for them to stop, and quickly recast it.

The other Second didn’t react to the jibe, turning his attention back to their reluctant tutor. “I’ve been wondering, Cloud – is that Barrier or a Wall materia you’re using?”

It was an odd question, “Barrier. The spell is Wall.”

“Huh. I didn’t know you could cast different spells with mastered materia. I just thought the level changed.”

Cloud held out his hand for Kunsel’s materia, and the Second handed it over without a thought. He rolled it in his palm for a minute, getting a feel for what sort of magic potential it had. Only mid-level Ice, but the glow indicated the materia was close to being mastered. Oddly enough, he couldn’t get a feel for a lower level spell either. Frowning, he asked, “Where did you get this materia?”

“ShinRa-issue. You get one materia of your choice every time you’re promoted a Class.”

It made sense then. He returned it, and removed his Restore. “Manufactured materia. This one was formed naturally. Try and feel the difference.”

Kunsel took the mastered materia, and repeated Cloud’s gesture. Surprise registered on his face – or at least, as much of his face that was visible underneath the helmet. “Huh. So you found all these in the wild?”

Cloud nodded, returning the Restore to his sword. “Mako fountains are a good place to find them. Mines, caves. Sometimes people have them as heirlooms, too.”

“You must get around a lot. I don’t think I’ve ever come across any naturally formed materia.” Kunsel inspected the materia slotted into First Tsurugi with renewed interest. “I’ve never seen this one.”

“All. Lets me target all visible enemies with one spell.” If he recalled correctly, ShinRa had never been able to manufacture it, which made the price of it so high. They had however managed to create some high level materia with area affects. He didn’t know how. Just because he was an expert on using materia, didn’t mean he knew anything else about them.

Zack joined in, poking out one of the materia near the base and rolling the cold green ball in his hands. "What's this?" He held it out towards the dummy experimentally.

Cloud snatched it from his fingers, leaving the Second blinking in confusion. He let out a shaky breath. You just didn't use Comet in a built-up area. "Not this one."

Returning his focus to the dummy, Kunsel commented, "Zack never paid attention in theory classes. He must have missed the lecture about materia safety."

The Zack in his memories hadn't been that much of a slouch with materia, but then, it was easier if you received all of your materia already labelled. Cloud learnt everything about materia the hard way. That meant finding a great big empty field somewhere and testing any green materia they were unfamiliar with.

"Sorry!" Zack didn't sound sorry at all. "But seriously, what is it?"


Another ice spell dissolved against the barrier, and Kunsel let out a low whistle. "That's some serious firepower. You planning on taking on an army any time soon?"

Cloud very deliberately placed the materia in his pocket. "It's easy to get mobbed by monsters when you're travelling alone in the wastes." Or stumble across a WEAPON the size of a skyscraper.

Kunsel shook his head. "No way you should be a Third. Even Seconds don't go travelling off the main paths without some backup these days. Monsters have been going mad lately."

“I know!” Zack exclaimed. “Seems like every other day I’m outside the city limits, clearing out monsters. Some of them have even been making it into the slums! It’s full time job just keeping Midgar safe, never mind anywhere else.”

"I heard the weapons department’s developing some stronger bots to take care of it,” the other Second added. Kunsel, Cloud quickly discovered, was an accomplished gossip. He could quote all the company rumours, could tell you about anybody worth knowing in ShinRa, and always knew the big news before it came out. If it weren't for the way he fought, Cloud would have pegged him as a Turk in disguise.

"No way man," Zack dismissed. "I got a mission last month to go destroy a bunch that ran out of control. They're supposed to take care of the simple jobs for us, but all they do is make more work!"

Kunsel grinned. "Soon we won't have to hunt monsters anymore, we'll just have to go take out Scarlett's broken machines."

Cloud smothered a laugh, but Zack heard anyway, and pulled a face at him.

The door to Training Room chose that moment to hiss open.

The laugh caught in his throat.

He knew who it was without even turning around.

Strife. I’ve been looking for you. So this is where you’ve been hiding.”

His entire body tensed, fingers tightening around the hilt of First Tsurugi.

Meeting Sephiroth was inevitable, but Cloud had hoped he would have at least a few more days to get used to walking among the ghosts of the past. He still felt a little edgy after passing his old drill sergeant in the hallway, and the man had saluted him.

Sephiroth glided into the room, Kunsel and Zack snapping out a quick salute. He took in the scene in a long, deliberately slow glance. “Materia practice?”

“Sir! Strife was good enough to agree to tutor us!”

“At ease, SOLDIERs.” Cloud turned around, not wanting to see the face that had taken away his most precious things, but unwilling to leave his back open to the General any longer. Unnervingly, the cat-like green gaze was fixed solely on him. “I’m not here on official business.”

“Then why are you here?” Cloud asked coolly.

“You need to ask?” Sephiroth drawled. “Have you already forgotten your parting words from the last time we met?”

His fingers itched to draw his sword, but he had to remember the plan, and not let his emotions carry him away again. “It’s against my contract.”

“Then why come to ShinRa?” Sephiroth pressed, stepping deeper into the Training Room. The blond barely resisted the urge to step back, acutely aware of the wide-eyed audience of a pair of Seconds.

Cloud didn’t answer the question, instead squaring his shoulders and asking, “Why are you here?” Sephiroth seemed to be spoiling for a fight, but that couldn’t be right – he would know as well as Cloud did that any such fighting would result in excessive collateral damage.

“To find out why, of course,” came the matter-of-fact reply. “We did not have the chance to discuss matters properly last time we met.”

Rage – potent and irrational – bubbled within him. Discuss? “I have nothing to say to you.” To reduce the lives he took, the havok he wreaked, the threat to the planet he posed, down to a discussion?

A tiny, traitorous voice within him whispered that of course Sephiroth couldn’t know how insulting his words were, not when he hadn’t done these things yet, but he ruthlessly squashed it.

“Oh? So you have no reason to fight, then.” The silence stretched between them, before Sephiroth suggested, “Shall I provide you with one?”

The veiled threat worked. Cloud could feel the mako in his eyes flaring at the burst of adrenaline. “I won’t let you!” First Tsurugi flashed through the air, meeting the glowing steel of Masamune with a bone-jarring ring. Pleasure coloured his opponent’s gaze, and Sephiroth stepped forward, pushing off with an easy strength. His sword left a trail of sparks as its tip grazed the reinforced steel of the Training Room floor.

Zack and Kunsel were rooted to the spot on the other side of the room, mouths agape. Dangerous. “Allow me the pleasure of taking it away.” Cloud threw the strongest Wall spell he could manage over them, whirling back around barely in time to catch Masamune’s next strike. The floor shuddered under his feet.

“Tell me, Strife,” Sephiroth taunted, “Where did you find this strength? The strength of a SOLDIER First Class.”

“I’m not about to tell you!” The words slipped so easily from his mouth, a mockery of a battle not yet past.

They exchanged a frantic flurry of blows, the clashes echoing eerily against the metal walls. He saw an opening, dove for it, but Sephiroth twisted away with an easy grace, as though he expected it. Cloud jerked his head to the side, barely avoiding Masamune’s stab, and threw himself backwards, out of range before the sword could strike down.

“Hey, stop it!”

Zack’s voice rang through the Training Room, and for a second Cloud expected to see a glimpse of the Lifestream, his friend offering hope when it seemed helpless. Instead, he faced Sephiroth, weapon partly drawn, heedless of the sword hovering a hands’ width away from his neck. Cloud almost dashed towards him, but the grip on his shoulder and a glimpse of a helmet – Kunsel – stopped him just in time.

The plan. What was he doing? He couldn’t kill Sephiroth yet. Not until he’d taken care of Hojo and Jenova. He’d promised Vincent that much, at least.

For one moment, the room was poised on a knife’s edge, tension spilling over, ready to break into battle again with the wrong twitch of a muscle.

The moment passed, and Cloud pulled himself back in, forcing the bloodstained memories to the back of his mind, where they belonged. He lowered his sword, and with one last, resentful look at Sephiroth, stormed from the Training Room.

“Running away again?” Sephiroth taunted.

“Hey, come on, sir,” Zack protested. He said something else, but by then the door had hissed shut behind him and Cloud walked out of earshot, his fingers clutching at fabric of his uniform.

Sometimes he imagined he could still feel the pull of Masamune in his chest.

Next chapter


( 19 comments — Leave a comment )
Dec. 13th, 2009 02:52 am (UTC)
So intense. I love that Cloud has a short fuse when it comes to Sephiroth. The man just has a way of getting under his skin, even without meaning to. I really am looking forward to how you develop this relationship, whether they can ever be friends, or at least allies, without waiting for the other shoe to drop.

To think he used to idolise Sephiroth like that!

*cackles* Right after a quote from one of the fangirling women, too. Oh man, that was totally a Seph x Cloud comment, don't deny it! XDD

I like that part about All materia. Only 4 in the original game, yeah? I don't think I even managed to get them all...But yeah, the materia lesson was awesome. Great explanation of why there were differences between FFVII and CC.

Zack and Kunsel are hilarious together. Such...teenagers. I forget sometimes that Zack's only 17 or so in this, especially when he acts like that caring older brother.
Dec. 13th, 2009 03:31 am (UTC)
I deny nothing! You have no idea how carefully I considered making this fic Seph/Cloud before deciding it wasn't what I wanted to focus on. ^_^

Yes, All materia was so hard to find, and yet, SO USEFUL. -__- Glad you liked my attempt at justifying the difference in materia systems. That was the one thing that really bugged me about Crisis Core.

Zack and Kunsel are maybe even more fun to write than Genesis and Sephiroth. :D Boys.
Dec. 13th, 2009 03:38 am (UTC)
Seph x Cloud~! Definitely my OTP for the game, but it's refreshing to read a good gen fic every now and then. XD I like how every Cloud-Sephiroth meeting so far now has resulted in a fight, with someone having to intervene before things got too far.

Also wanted to say that I love Lazard's backstory here. It makes me feel even worse for what happens to him in CC.

I'm surprised Angeal wasn't more wary of Cloud, but I guess that's why he was accompanying him on his first missions? Angeal might be sneaky that way. XP
Jul. 25th, 2012 05:17 am (UTC)
Psst. I know this is an old comment, but you're totally missing out in the original game! You can buy All materia at Fort Condor after the events involving it in Disc 2! It's not cheap, though...
Dec. 13th, 2009 03:27 am (UTC)
yet another great chapter! Kunsel's personality was surprisingly good. In most fics they just don't put enough human on the side characters, which makes it less realistic.

aksjdhklas if I wasn't running late for practice, I'd lengthen the review a bit more, but... ;-; *dashes away*
Dec. 13th, 2009 03:34 am (UTC)
\o/ Thanks! Kunsel needs to be well-developed, as he has an important role to play, but it always feels so risky playing with minor characters!

Enjoy practice~
Jan. 5th, 2013 05:03 am (UTC)
I think it's good to at least take into account the side characters' desires and motivations. If you ignore how they might react to certain events or simply don't include them the fic feels less organic.

Old comment reply, lol sorry
Dec. 13th, 2009 04:35 am (UTC)
Wow... Totally in love with the last scene. It's intense! And I also love Sephiroth's dialogue.

The wing joke is way funny... Seems that Angeal and Zack do share something similar, other than the buster sword.

Crisis Core is wonderful, brilliant, but my heart aches everytime I think about it. *weeps*

Am really in love with your fic because it's like a 2nd chance for us to see the nice side of CC, a glimpse of what could have been...

And thanks for the longer update!! =D
Dec. 13th, 2009 12:31 pm (UTC)
Yes! Too much tragedy in CC, not enough with the ordinary times before everything became horrible!

Thanks~ Love writing Sephiroth and Cloud clashes. If only I could figure out a way to make them happen every chapter. *_*
Dec. 13th, 2009 04:47 am (UTC)
Cloud, your plan-making skills suck. If even I can see how bad a plan that is, it's very flimsy indeed.

And he is so damn Cloud with the dispatching of the monsters, just all utilitarian, no showing off his fighting skills (just that monstruous power).

And Seph, young, inexperienced, proud, still-rattled Seph. Going up against mindlessrage!Cloud. Not a good combination. “It’s against my contract.” As if that actually held you back.

Zack saves the day!

Dec. 13th, 2009 12:36 pm (UTC)
Yes, I think we've proven that the contract is not much of a deterrent at all. :D And hey, I figured Cloud wasn't very good at plans back in his Avalanche days, either.

Yay Zack! He's so cool.
Dec. 14th, 2009 04:44 am (UTC)
Hm. Yes, as demostrated so often already - Cloud's idea of a plan is something along the lines of let's blow this shit up.
Dec. 14th, 2009 12:59 pm (UTC)
If it ain't broke... :D
(Deleted comment)
Dec. 13th, 2009 12:40 pm (UTC)
What would you call that embarrassing medical condition? Malignant Sephirothitis? Silly Cloud indeed. :3

Cloud, Zack, Kunsel, BFF, the new golden trio of ShinRa! *__*

Haaa, how many non-tragic fics will it take for me to shake that 'Queen of Tragedy' stigma? Well, fingers crossed. Ending isn't written yet, anything can happen!
Dec. 13th, 2009 07:16 pm (UTC)
Oh, Cloud. T_T Even though this isn't the same Sephiroth, he still knows how to get to you...

I loved how the scene just went from light-hearted training, to fight-to-the-death battle as fast as it did. The intensity was just so breathtaking.

And I love your Angeal, getting so amused at the hardworking Cloud. <3

I can't wait for the next chapter!
Dec. 14th, 2009 01:16 pm (UTC)
Thanks! <3 (I don't really know what else to say at this point!)
Jan. 3rd, 2012 11:23 pm (UTC)
asfhsdlfjkhs more call backs/forwards and I love them so, oh my goodness. <3 Even if all they're doing this time around is pissing Cloud off, heh. x3

And I can't blame Cloud for wanting a string of missions to go on. Goodness knows how often I wanted that simply playing Crisis Core, never mind how it must feel having to physically do the missions. *nod*
Jan. 5th, 2013 04:50 am (UTC)
“I’m tired of fighting, but I can’t seem to stop,” Cloud murmured.

The moment passed, and Cloud pulled himself back in, forcing the bloodstained memories to the back of his mind, where they belonged.

Sometimes he imagined he could still feel the pull of Masamune in his chest.

This right here is some deep, powerful stuff. :O
Sep. 22nd, 2016 04:52 pm (UTC)
I know this fic is old and I don't really expect an answer, but how old is Cloud compared to Sephiroth, Angeal, and Genesis in this fic?
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